“ll Meet You At The Door.” – My Last Farewell To Rommie
Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak
Whispers the oe’r fraught heart and bids it break.
The Beginning Of The End
Rommie got sick (Think Linda Blair from The Exorcist) on 7/30 late at night. Her head did not spin but volume of liquid that came out of her mouth was unbelieveable.
The dining room carpet took 3 direct hits around midnight. It was going to be hard to clean so I decided to rip it up but first it appeared a trip to the emergency vet was necessary. I let Rommie out and she took off across the deck and jumped into the yard and ran around like the Tazmanian Devil. I thought she was looking for a place to get sick, but she was looking for a place to lie down. She found it in the light of the full moon, smiling and filled with joy – as usual.
“Alright, she is done throwing up so we do not need to go to the emergency vet.”
The Last Farewell
While I ripped up the carpet, Rommie started barking at the woods behind the house. I tried to quiet her as the neighbors sleep with the windows open. She would not be quiet, so I let her be. In hindsight, she knew that was her last night on earth and she was saying her last farewell to the birds, deer, squirrels, groundhogs, and other critters residing in the woods. Rommie knew her ship lied “rigged and ready in the harbor” and later that day she would sail to heaven.
No Bedtime Treats
I let Rommie in and she acted her normal rambunctious self. She even danced around for a treat. I told her
“No. You have been puking so I am not going to give you a treat.”
Then we went to bed. She refused to come to the bedroom, so I went to the living room and slept on the couch till the 5am alarm rang.
Rommie was lightly snoozing on the living room rug. I decided to set a 6am alarm on my phone. After that alarm, I got ready for work and left my manager a voicemail stating Rommie was very sick but once I get her to the vet and they start an I.V. to rehydrate her, I would be in for 1/2 day.
About 30 minutes later Rommie got up and walked to her water dish for a drink, but her hips would not support her. She made it back the rug and laid down.
I knew something major was wrong.
I texted Joe’s brother that Rommie had a 10 a.m. appointment and it might be her last. He was driving his wife to her job and they both realized it was not me possibly losing Rommie but it would be losing Joe again.
When my friend A. arrived around 9:30, one of my neighbors came over and the 3 of us got Rommie in my car by using the couch cover as a sling, then A. followed me to the vet and stayed for a little while.
“Prognosis Is Grim”
The ladies at the vet’s office stretchered Rommie in and I explained to the assistant what happened during the night. The doctor opened the door, entered the room and was stunned when he saw Rommie lying there on the table. He knew she was usually a bundle of energy. He picked her up and with the help of the vet tech, tried to get Rommie to stand, but again her hips gave out. He put her front paws down on the floor but she immediately curled them under. It was at that point he felt she had a neurological issue as well as an intestinal issue. He said “Prognosis is grim.”
I then made phone calls to Mom and Joe’s brother to talk through the situation and my options.
After talking to them, I made the decision. When I told Joe’s brother Rommie was moving in with Joe, Rommie started throwing up again. Joe’s brother said she was confirming I made the right decision.
My Last Farewell
I told her she was going to live with Daddy and I would see her in about 30 years. I told her I loved her, would miss her and was thankful we had so many years together. I kept petting her and she started throwing up again. Then after about 20 minutes together she had another “Linda Blair” episode. I opened the door and talked to one of the other vets and she got towels and opened the window as the stench was awful.
“Are You Ready?”
The vet taking care of Rommie came in and asked if I was ready and I said “Yes.” He administered an I.V. mixture that relaxed her and then stopped her heart. I even watched him do it. All the while petting Rommie and telling her I would meet her at the door someday. (Meeting her at the door is a phrase I used when Rommie needed to come in through the back garage door. She would stand at the deck steps and I would tell her “I’ll meet you at the door.” She would then run to the back door.)
It was only a few moments before she peacefully moved to heaven. She was surrounded by people she knew and loved in a familiar environment.
After her passing, I stayed about 20 minutes still petting her. At one point I asked her
“How long do I stay with you?”
It was then a warm breeze blew across my neck. It reminded me it was a sunny day and I needed to go play. So I said one final “See you later.” and opened the door telling one of the vet’s assistants I was ready to leave. She assured me she would take good care of Rommie, but I already knew that.
Shock And Awe
Shock waves rippled through the vet’s office that Friday, as Rommie was in a month before for her checkup and was her normal rambunctious self. She even refused to eat a treat because “Ladies don’t eat in public.” (unless it is a grilled hotdog at the G.R.I.N. picnic).
I was there for her in her greatest hour of need as she was for me when Joe passed. I made a painful decision, but it was in her best interest. I do not regret the decision and would not have missed it for the world because she heard my voice right up until the end. One of the other veterinarians wrote in the sympathy card that the greatest act of love I ever showed Rommie was letting her go. I agree.
If I have another dog, I hope I get the privilege of saying “I’ll meet you at the door.” to him or her as well, instead of them passing in the night or while I am at work.
My Life Now
There is joy in my heart most days but writing this post brought tears. However, writing is good therapy and tears are healing.
Now it is time to focus on finding a fantastic new job and who knows, maybe a fantastic boyfriend. 😉
I leave you with one of my favorite pictures, the closing used in most of my personal emails, a line from The Last Farewell that sums up my feelings and a quote from Betty White.
For you are beautiful and I have loved you dearly, more dearly than the spoken word can tell.
The Last Farewell
Once someone has had the good fortune to share a true love affair with a golden retriever, one’s life and one’s outlook is never quite the same.